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Yuletide Cherry Porter | Barley Days Brewery

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Yuletide Cherry PorterYuletide Cherry Porter
23 Ratings
Yuletide Cherry PorterYuletide Cherry Porter

Brewed by:
Barley Days Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barley Days Brewery’s Yuletide Cherry Porter, with its velvety texture and crimson hue, will warm you on winter nights. Malt and hops mingle with Ontario cherries to create a lush flavour in this unfiltered specialty brew.

Added by bobsy on 11-20-2008

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Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 14
Photo of ChrisCage
4.31/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Love the artwork on the label...the beer itself is a cherry cola color...almost an exact replica! The head is caramel color and grows into a three finger thick head that is rich and dense looking....lots of small bubbles happening! I can't see what the carbonation looks like and the lacing is sticky on the side of the glass....it looks like it is oil like in thickness.

S- Heavy roasted/toasted malts that are on the verge of burnt, and there is all sorts of chocolate covered cherries as well...these are the most noted things....molasses, and a dry Earthy finish are also detected on the nostrils.

T- Flavors that border on black coffee...French Roast to be exact, dark chocolate hints and robust dark fruits such as the aforementioned cherries, and they are a bit tart. Black plums perhaps are blended into the flavor profile and Earthy soil is present as well....finish is clean and of fruity refreshment.

M/O- This is surprisingly light bodied and I think this would do quite well in warmer weather as a refresher! The carbonation is well balanced and smooth/creamy in texture....this is highly drinkable without being too filling! The alcohol is well hidden and won't catch up with a person anytime soon either....I highly recommend this one and would seek it out again!

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Photo of Coronaeus
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of DaveBar
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a 6pk at the brewery on Prince Edward County. Served at 6deg C in a tulip

A- Opens very well and pours a nice brown high head that settles to a film in a minute or two. Very dark!

S- Nice malt here. It's a porter that some stouts will envy!

T- Nice porter with a hint of cherry. Not much cherry but you can tell there is some there. Nice malt and it's roasted well.

M- Very good. Nice and dry and creamy at the same time. A really good porter.

O- One of the best porters I have ever had. I have had many stouts that are not even in the same league as this porter. Worth buying again. I don't understand the low scores as this baby is pretty darn good.

On a separate note, nice 30 barrel system there. Pretty big operation and growing. Yes it's the 3rd wine area of Canada but this brewery is worth visiting. LOL they will keep feeding them to you free until your DUI so be careful!!

Food Pairing

This wonderful porter went well with........ Bacon and eggs! Not a FBS but I wanted to try it for breakfast. It was a good call.


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Photo of WillAndSarah
4.25/5  rDev +25%

Photo of Cycle69
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of boszormeny
2.75/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of nullbort
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Molson2000
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Vyronian
1.75/5  rDev -48.5%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Took a risk and picked up a six pack - at nearly 16 bucks a pop, it's a bit steep, but sometimes those are the breaks for craft breweries.

Poured into a nonic. Dark coffee-chocolate in color, decent head, survives as a thick ring. A bit of lacing.

Nose is dry stout, a bit of coffee, sour-ish cherry, woodsy-ness. Not bad, actually!

This brew is dry and slightly sour with a nice woodsy finish. A bit sweet up front, probably precludes the possibility of multiple drinks in a session, but certainly nice on a winters evening. The tartness gets a bit much after a while. Moderate carbonation, dry finish.

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Photo of bryehn
3.92/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a deep, brownish red visible around the edges and a small tan coloured head that hangs on as a thin collar and leaves some minor lacing.

Smells like dark chocolate, roasted coffee and fresh unripened cherry. It has a liqueur or boxed chocolate feel about it.

Tastes like freshly ground bitter coffee, with a strong chocolate tone. Dark cherry and plum-like flavours are very bright, fruity and juicy and mellowed by a roasted, slightly woody finish.

Medium-bodied with a low carbonation. Yeast creates a subtle prickly sensation on the tongue. The bright fruit tones linger in a moderately bitter aftertaste.

Because of its thick, roasted and bitter characteristics, I find this beer drinks more like a stout than a typical porter, which isn't a bad thing at all in my books. A pleasant surprise I'll look for again.

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Photo of Foddz
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a rich, very dark, not-quite black with a reddish tinge reminiscent of the cherries they've added. About 1 finger of head that leaves a persistant lacing around the rim of the glass.

S: Sweet and fruity, with some darker malt undertones. Cherries for certain, perhaps some plums, with caramel and subtle coffee aromas to balance things out.

T: You can definitely taste the cherries. Perhaps a little overmuch. Maltiness takes a back seat to the fruit flavours, but still exhibits a bit of the caramel and coffee that you'd expect from the nose.

M: A little thin, and a little dry, but not wholely without merit. Pleasant level of carbonation for what it is.

O/D: An interesting concoction, though the cherries are a little heavy-handed. I could stand to drink maybe one or two of these in a sitting, but the sweetness would become cloying before too long. Not a bad little brew and my first from this brewery. I'll be looking to sample some of their other wares for sure.

EDIT: Serving temperature makes a *world* of difference for this beer - first bottle was served relatively warm - maybe 10-12C from being in my car. Second bottle from the same 6-pack at fridge temperature had a completely different pour, nose, and taste.

Adjustments from second bottle:
-Almost no head formation and minimal lacing on the pour.
-Nose is very malt/chocolate/coffee with some cherry underpinnings.
-Taste is malt, chocolate, coffee, a hint of smoke, with much more subtle cherry flavouring towards the tail end. Hops seem to bite a bit more at this temperature as well. Taste is much closer to a typical porter than the previous sample. One might want to taste the cherries a little bit more - a friend has suggested optimal serving temperature may be around 6C, but experimentation is needed.

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Photo of kwjd
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at the Rebel House. Pours a dark brown colour with virtually no head. No lacing on the glass either. Smells of sour cherries, chocolate with the mild roasted barley. Quite a sweet flavour of the chocolate, with some of the tartness from the cherry coming through. Flavour felt a little bit off. Mouthfeel felt almost syrupy more than it was smooth. I certainly did not want a 2nd pint of this, but I didn't hate it either.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Volo.

This beer appears a very dark brown colour, with slight red highlights, and one finger of soapy off-white head, which leaves some sparse lace around the glass. It smells of dry chocolate powder, and some mild sour cherry. The taste is bittersweet chocolate malt, more sour cherry, and some alcohol warming. The carbonation is mild, the body medium weight and smooth, and it finishes quite consistently with more light choco-cherry essence.

A nicely drinkable and affable cherry porter, not too light, not too heavy, just enjoyable.

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Photo of cratez
2/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

What a mess! Purchased from the Summerhill LCBO in Toronto with high hopes given the 'B+' rating (prior to MeisterBurger's review). This was a big letdown.

An aggressive pour generates three fingers of foamy brown head that dissipates in macro lager timing. No lacing to speak of, the beer just dulls to a blackish red body. Smell is a surprisingly awful mixture of burnt rubber, old tires, and soy sauce. Taste is no better, with harsh roasted malt and zero hop presence. The cherries produce a tepid fruit/wood character that fails to impress. This is all followed by a huge dose of MALT in the finish, which makes for an overly tart and astringent aftertaste. Very unpleasant, almost puckering sourness. Couldn't finish the beer!

Having paid $15.35 for a six pack, I feel ripped off. This is neither a porter nor a drinkable beverage. Avoid.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
2.39/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours like crimson midnight, topped by a loose, ample tan head that has almost a slightly reddish tinge to it. Peculiar, bubbly lacing. Good retention.

Smells like cooked vegetables. Roasty. Not overly impressive, really.

The taste is mildly roasty, chocolatey with a sour cherry underneath. Slightly sour, bitter finish. The flavors you would expect to find are all present, but nothing really shines here, and the sourness in the aftertaste isn't exactly super-awesome.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery, with not enough carbonation or body to really do it justice.

Overall I can't say as I have had a single beer from Barley Days that wowed me in any way and this one's no different. Meh. I remember liking this a lot more last year.

ETA: Had another one last night (Dec 23) just because I have six and I wondered if I got a bad bottle. Nope. Three sips and then down the drain it went. I have downgraded the taste and drinkability since my first review but, really, I don't think I went far enough.

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Photo of TerryW
3.72/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

These guys have come around some are are brewing better beers than they used to. This brew is at least interesting on a couple counts.

Looks great. Solidly dark with a whisper of red. Pours magnificently, puts on a great display - provides a tall firm chunky head and lots of lace.

Slightly sweet up front with a contrasting bitter finish. Fruity, then pleasantly woody, with burned toast and coffee. Interesting, but not for the light hearted because its not subtle.

Well made.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had quite a few of these over the Christmas holidays, it was high time that I reviewed one. Generous head in a Guinness glass, opaque with ample carbonation pushing up at the three to four finger mocha topping. No shortage of lacing either. Smell is burnt coffee, toasty. Tasty burnt coffee taste as well but I can't say that there is much of a cherry presence. Bitter baker's chocolate swallow and a dry, slightly astringent aftertaste. Much more malt than there is fruit in this one, but not bad at all really. Although this is not outstanding or exceptional, it certainly is acceptable and a nice break from your usual Ontario fare ... afterall, it was a large part of my holidays and I did go back for more of it. Nice work, Barley Days, I've had a few of your beers now and this is my favourite so far.

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Worn, dark brown leather with a filmy coating of dark scarlet. Highlights aren't spotted often although its base is steadily illuminated. Despite being opaque, the beer is certainly not black. It definitely appears to be over carbonated; a colossal, ultra-creamy bank of sepia toned head has washed over the top and will stick when shoveled against the sides.

Having brewed with fresh cherries myself, I can usually tell when a beer uses syrups or juices rather than the actual fruit - the funky, soured, tart scent beneath my nose is good indication that Barley Days is being truthful when they claim to use real cherries in the recipe. It certainly smells more of rotting cherries than ripe, juicy fresh ones.

That said, the aroma is far from foul; shavings of bakers chocolate, splashes of cold coffee and the bitter, mildly smoky roast character (the true marks of good porter) are all present as well. It seems as though the porter will come first, the cherry second. It's also a rather reassuring sign of things to come. I only wish they would jump out of the glass a little more...

...fortunately they seem to more in the flavour, I'm actually a little surprised by the depth offered. Notes of dark toffee, creamy caramel, rich chocolate mousse, chestnuts, black coffee, and over-ripe black cherries all make minor appearances. My personal like of cherry porter notwithstanding, I find the flavour is really good but that it falls far short of great.

The mouthfeel is where I start to note a few flaws. The most prominent tastes - coffee, chocolate, roasted malt - all have one key thing in common: bitterness. Although I'm sure the IBU's are quite low, the more subtle flavours (including the cherry) are overwhelmed and practically clobbered off the palate. While at it, I'd also tone down the carbonation a notch.

Although there is plenty of room for improvement with Barley Days' Yuletide Cherry Porter there's also good reason for kudos. I've tried a few bottles of the YCP during my holidays and, unlike its predecessor the Black Scarf Porter of the former Glenora Springs Brewery, I have yet to come across a bad bottle. I'll be sure to drink a couple more, just to be sure ;)

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Photo of Derek
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Black with a huge, light-tan head; good retention & a wonderful lacing.

S: Bakers chocolate; brown sugar; cherry; a little christmas cake; slight grainy astringency; floral, almost soapy hops.

T: Bakers chocolate; grainy bread; burnt toffee/caramel; slightly earthy; a little cherry & roasted sourness; molasses; hints of ale fruitiness; solid bitterness. There's a slight homebrew flavour here, like the yeast ran out of energy before it had a chance to clean up some of the byproducts.

M: Moderate body is a little chalky with some roasted acidity & a dry finish.

D: If it was a little bigger, it might make a nice winter warmer.

Thanks Bobsy.

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Photo of bobsy
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe this is a complete reformulation of the horrid (and thankfully defunct) Black Scarf. To me, there are enough differences in the beer to indicate that its a drastically different brew from the recipe the owners inherited, so full credit to the new brewmaster!

Very dark brown appearance, bordering on black, with a lively mocha head, which left a decent amount of lacing and persisted well. After a while, a small coating of sediment covered the bottom of the glass. The aroma has the traditional dark roasted malt elements of coffee and bittersweet chocolate, but it is also joined by a faint bing cherry smell, which does add a little festive feel to this seasonal.

The taste tells you that this is a porter through and through, and makes me wish that Barley Days put the base for this beer out as a regular brew. There's nothing too exciting or unexpected - the flavours are a traditional coffee and bitter chocolate with a touch of peat - but its well executed. I actually found the cherry flavour to be very well-integrated throughout, bringing a pleasant sweetness. It also become more apparent in a drying finish, faintly reminiscent of a cherry cough drop, where the bitterness also made itself felt. The mouthfeel is very well done, with a mild carbonation, but a nice medium body. Thankfully it elude the wateriness that some porters exhibit.

I have now had five of the offerings from this brewery, with just the Loyalist Lager to go, and I have to say they've done a fantastic job of transforming the beers and cleaning up the problems that Glenora had. Its really too bad that the previous incarnations of the other beers drag down the ratings of the new versions, because I'm sure it will put a few BAs off trying what they have to offer, and that's a shame.

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Yuletide Cherry Porter from Barley Days Brewery
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 23 ratings
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